wiretap

verb
wire·​tap | \ ˈwī(-ə)r-ˌtap How to pronounce wiretap (audio) \
wiretapped; wiretapping; wiretaps

Definition of wiretap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to tap a telephone or telegraph wire or cellular signal in order to get information

transitive verb

: to tap the telephone of

wiretap

noun

Definition of wiretap (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or an instance of wiretapping
2 : an electrical connection for wiretapping

Examples of wiretap in a Sentence

Verb The FBI wiretapped his phone. Noun Federal agents put a wiretap on his phone. Investigators listened to the wiretaps for clues about the suspect's whereabouts.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In December, a report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz identified 17 inaccuracies in requests to wiretap former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page in 2016 and 2017. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "'I'm not going to be the Republican Christopher Steele': Graham fears Giuliani evidence is Russian propaganda," 9 Feb. 2020 The massive report, released Monday, found more than a dozen inaccuracies in the FBI’s warrant applications, effectively inflating the justification to wiretap former foreign policy adviser Carter Page. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "‘No signs of life' after volcano eruption," 9 Dec. 2019 The plan comes more than a month after the Justice Department's inspector general identified 17 inaccuracies in requests to wiretap former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page in 2016 and 2017. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "FBI outlines surveillance reforms after searing rebuke from court, DOJ inspector general," 11 Jan. 2020 Now the government’s security services can wiretap and detain without judicial supervision. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Why Isn’t Macron an Illiberal Pinup?," 26 Sep. 2019 Bulger and his partner in crime, Steve Flemmi, were cited by the FBI as confidential informants whose inside intel was needed to obtain court authorization to wiretap the Boston Mafia. BostonGlobe.com, "Last week, lawyers for the Bulger family filed notice with the Justice Department that they will sue the government to get to the bottom of why the South Boston underworld leader and killer James “Whitey” Bulger was murdered in a West Virginia federal penitentiary last year.," 24 Sep. 2019 A month after Trump adviser Carter Page publicly asked then-Director James Comey for an interview to clear his name, the FBI obtained a warrant to wiretap him. Lee Smith, WSJ, "What if the FBI Had Probed Obama?," 23 Jan. 2019 Specifically, Republican lawmakers have asserted that the FBI misused a secret surveillance court to get approval to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Justice inspector general opens probe of possible surveillance abuses in Russia election case," 28 Mar. 2018 The document offers a new timeline of wiretap orders in the case based on Dawkins' request for the recordings to be thrown out because an April 7 order to wiretap his phone was missing the name of the official who authorized it. Chris White, The Courier-Journal, "Were Rick Pitino's calls with an Adidas executive recorded?," 10 Mar. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Republicans have complained that the FBI concealed its reliance on Steele's findings when applying for permission to wiretap Page. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Andrew McCabe, former FBI deputy director, won't face criminal charges," 15 Feb. 2020 Steele's dossier was also used by the FBI to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who was suspected of being a foreign agent for Russia but was never charged with any wrongdoing. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Devin Nunes: GOP investigators 'laser-focused' on information CIA gave to FBI in 2016," 19 Apr. 2020 Some of the most important ways the F.B.I. botched the wiretap applications targeting Mr. Page related to the Steele dossier, the inspector general report found. New York Times, "New Details Hint at Risk of Russian Misinformation in Dossier," 15 Apr. 2020 The report expanded on a harshly critical assessment of the FBI's surveillance activities issued in December, focusing on its handling of multiple wiretap applications for the monitoring of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "FISA court orders FBI to review if wiretaps are invalid after errors found during investigation," 3 Apr. 2020 Defense attorneys argue the government misled the court to get certain evidence, noting Singer willingly cooperated with the government in four wiretaps of his phone, e-mails and phone calls and that evidence should be thrown out. Lauren Del Valle, CNN, "Lori Loughlin and 13 other defendants move to dismiss charges in college admissions scandal," 2 Apr. 2020 The state's investigation reflects what was initially outlined in a sealed federal wiretap affidavit issued as part of a separate Drug Enforcement Administration investigation several years ago. Kate Murphy, Cincinnati.com, "Former Portsmouth city councilman Michael Mearan detained by police; home raided," 25 Mar. 2020 Authorities say that in just the five weeks the men were subject to a wiretap in 2018, Smith, 40, supplied 8 or 9 kilograms of heroin to his cousin, Chauncey Griffin, among the three biggest heroin distributors in southeastern Wisconsin. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Supplier to major southeastern Wisconsin heroin ring sentenced to 12 years in prison," 21 Feb. 2020 The bill wouldn’t change what crimes could receive a judge’s approval for a wiretap. Anita Chabria, latimes.com, "Secret wiretapping could get boost in California, sparking privacy concerns," 26 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wiretap.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of wiretap

Verb

1918, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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More Definitions for wiretap

wiretap

verb
How to pronounce wiretap (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wiretap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to place a device on (someone's phone) in order to secretly listen to telephone calls

wiretap

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wiretap (Entry 2 of 2)

: a device that allows someone to secretly listen to phone conversations
: a conversation that has been recorded using a wiretap

wiretap

verb
wire·​tap | \ ˈwīr-ˌtap How to pronounce wiretap (audio) \
wiretapped; wiretapping

Legal Definition of wiretap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to engage in wiretapping had probable cause to wiretap

transitive verb

: to interpret through wiretapping a wiretapped telephone conversation also : to connect to the telephone line of for the purpose of wiretapping wiretapped her home — compare bug, eavesdrop

wiretap

noun

Legal Definition of wiretap (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of wiretapping we have held previously that wiretaps are a form of a searchWhack v. State, 615 A.2d 1226 (1992)
2 : an electrical connection for wiretapping — compare pen register

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More from Merriam-Webster on wiretap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wiretap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wiretap

Spanish Central: Translation of wiretap

Britannica English: Translation of wiretap for Arabic Speakers

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